Need an SEO copywriter?
Sometimes you want a great creative copywriter. Other times, you need a laser-focused SEO copywriter to give your content the maximum chances of ranking...
SEO copywriting is a precise art. It's not just about working out your keywords and then ramming them into your copy a few dozen times. It's a field in which copywriters need to put time, effort and expense if they want to be any good at it.
You can usually spot a decent SEO copywriter because their own website ranks pretty well :)
SEO (search engine optimization) is all about making amendments and technical tweaks to your web pages so that you boost your chances of ranking on Google. If you have a technical SEO team you can lean on, they'll be doing the behind-the-scenes stuff to boost your search engine rankings.
Your SEO firm will find you new keywords, establish link building opportunities, develop good website architecture and do a thousand other things that only search engines and SEO wizards understand.
What they often don't do, though, is SEO copywriting.
Why SEO copywriting has its own unique starting point
SEO copywriting is far removed from writing an article for a magazine, say – which I still get asked to do in my capacity as a seasoned writer. When you're writing with SEO purposes in mind, the intent behind the writing is completely different.
Ask me to create a 2,000 word article on the world of luxury fragrances for a glossy magazine and I'm Ernest Hemingway with a picture to paint. The thesaurus is my friend. My goal is to create an enticing piece of 'art' that will entertain, inform and delight.
OK, so I'm bigging it up, but you get the idea.
When I am asked to write an SEO-rich blog post for a client, however, I begin with a very different goal in mind. What is the keyword that the client is trying to rank for with this post? If you've ever used the WordPress plugin Yoast, they call this your 'focus keyphrase'.
It's a little different to your brand's keywords. Here's how:
Your keywords are in total sync with your business – they are forever entwined with the very fabric of what you do.
You sell off-the-peg kitchen cabinets online? Then 'off the peg kitchen cabinets', 'kitchen cabinets', 'ready-made kitchen cabinets' and 'kitchen units online' will all be important keywords for you.
When you're writing a blog post, however, you're more likely to want to rank for something slightly different.
That's because blogs are a way to build up a body of helpful, relevant work – they're not really there to compete with your main pages. So your focus keyphrase might be, 'wooden kitchen doors Vs PVC' or 'how to hang a kitchen door'.
Your main web page(s) are where you want to direct most visitors. Your blog pages are designed to keep bringing in newcomers who have found you because they were looking for something else not covered on your home page.
I'll be honest – if you'd asked me a few years ago to write a blog for your website I'd have chucked in a few keywords, done a bit of creative writing and bingo. Job done. And back then, this was all most clients expected.
Not any more. Blog writing comes under the banner of SEO copywriting and if you hire me as your SEO copywriter today, I'll approach it with the respect and care it deserves.
Where search engine optimization meets great copy
Google's goal for its SERPs (search engine results pages) is to provide internet users with exactly what they are looking for. If you have a good SEO strategy and a good SEO copywriter, then you should be able to write the kind of content that your target audience is seeking – which is what Google wants.
Quite simply, if you're able to create the very best content (in Google's eyes), then all other things being equal (domain authority, site loading times etc.) you should rank in the top spot or very near to it.
It's never that simple, of course.
But there are a number of premium SEO copywriting tools I use which enable me to understand what Google is looking for in order for copy to rank. These tools take time and effort to master – which is why not many SEO copywriters use them.
But the difference this tech can make is immense.
So good copy needs to be written with an appreciation of what Google wants, what a customer hopes to read – and, ideally, enough creative writing 'pizzaz' to make it entertaining. My aim is to deliver on all three fronts.
SEO copywriting – the process
As mentioned, when writing a blog – or any web page where SEO is a priority (and these days it almost always is) – you begin with intent. What is the intent of this page? For what keywords is it trying to rank?
Once I know that, and presuming you're happy to pay a small premium for me to run your copy through the pro tools I use (which operate on a pay-per-use basis), I'll start writing content that is designed with a specific purpose in mind: to rank.
I can take care of keyword research (including long tail keywords), the title tag for the article, your meta description and more.
We'll also need to look beyond your intent at what's known as keyword intent. What is your customer looking for? If they want a plumber, the intent behind their search will be to find a 'plumber' – not 'plumbing'. It's also too easy to try and rank for search terms that don't reflect keyword intent like this.
A better example: you sell tyres and want to sell more of them online. Your homepage should be optimized for 'buy tyres online' – which reflects the search intent of your customers. Your homepage is less likely to be optimized for 'how to change a tyre'.
However, to snap up more traffic – and potential future customers – you might write a blog post about how to change a tyre. You'd optimize this post accordingly, reflecting the searcher's keyword intent.
No keyword stuffing required
I don't do link building – that's the domain of your technical SEO person or your own outreach work. And I don't do keyword stuffing.
The tools I use are designed to show me the precise quantity of relevant keywords that are required. This enables me to create SEO content that is built with both Google search and user intent in mind.
The real skill I bring to the party when wearing my SEO copywriter hat is to combine many years of creating high quality content with the comparatively pedestrian (though technical) demands of SEO writing.
You want content that people will read and which will give your next blog post, your homepage or any other key page the critical shot of SEO magic it needs.
Great. But will my page rank?
That's the $64,000 question. Put it this way: without applying SEO copywriting best practices to your page, it almost certainly won't rank well – unless you're in an incredibly niche market with virtually no competition.
By which I mean the search volume for your target keyword is very low.
What I can do as your freelance SEO copywriter is give your web content and content marketing material a fighting chance to rise up through the search results pages.
There are too many variables for SEO success to be pinned on copywriting alone. But by getting the SEO copywriting and everything else right, you boost your chances.
Note, however, that achieving a great organic ranking for some keywords/search terms is all but impossible – because the competition is just too great.
Sometimes, you'd also need to hire your SEO copywriter to deliver four or five thousand carefully-crafted words in order to try and outshine the competition.
And sometimes, that's just not economical.
Giving the search engines just what they want
There are plenty of SEO copywriting tips I've picked up over the past few years, and for the right client with clear ambitions and the right budget, I can really go to town on optimizing content for search engines.
It's a process – and it's all about giving Google what it wants. It's about creating content with the right keyword density, a good meta title, an appropriate number of paragraphs, strong subheads and headlines, great readability: the works.
But the good news is that once you've got a good freelance SEO copywriter onside, that leaves you to sit back and publish content that has not simply been written, but has carefully been crafted to get a very specific job done.
Why not get in touch to discuss how I can help with your SEO copywriting needs? And if you'd like to know more about SEO, check out Neil Patel's thoughts on SEO copywriting – the guy's a legend.
Please note that SEO copywriting is a premium service. If this is what you need, be sure to communicate this when reaching out. While all of my writing is created with at least half an eye on SEO, I do not run every piece of copy I create through the premium tools I use. This is because SEO copywriting takes additional time and resources – and there are associated costs. More details? Just ask!
"I'll always come to you for my web content writing, Mike, because you give me exactly what I want first time, every time."
James Mallinson, founder, Fix My Mind – May 2023